Pictured are Mary (far left) and Emily Dunn.
By Tammy Moore Teague
Growing up I was never interested in, nor enabled in sports. However, my parents always encouraged me to do the things I was passionate about. You see, I was a bit of a tomboy growing up! We were raised in a rural part of the county outside Mansfield, and the imagination of the great outdoors kept me well-occupied. One of the things my parents encouraged me in, and something I found great involvement with was the local 4-H chapter.
I remember it well, walking into the county extension office in Greenwood. The smell, it was a bit musky! That’s where it began, and it wasn’t long after that when I received my first batch of chicks! I fell in love! I have always loved and owned just about every animal known to man, and boy did I take great pride in caring for those soft, little yellow creatures. One little one in particular had an issue with one of its toes. I put him in his own box and brought him inside with a little lamp. It wasn’t long and he was healed up and strong enough to return to the brood. Eventually, some of them made it to the county fair. Now that was an exciting time! I couldn’t wait to see what “color” ribbon my hens and roosters had on their cages! Inside the fair building a few of my canned items, which I’m sure my grandmother had assisted me with, were being judged.
“4-H is a great organization,” said Mansfield native Julie Goines Dunn. Both of her girls, Emily and Mary participate. Emily joined at age 9 and Mary joined as a Cloverbud when she turned 5.
Those are 4-H memories and skills for a lifetime! Skills like responsibility, compassion, accountability, and the value of hard work. This summer, when kids are sitting around the house complaining they have nothing to do, is an excellent time to introduce your kids to the 4-H life! It is free to join and they offer different programs of interest. It is open to kids ages 5-19 and activities include science and technology, health, food and nutrition, citizenship and leadership, agriculture and community service. More than 143,800 Arkansas youth participate in this path directed by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. They are “learning by doing” the 4-H way!
In addition to the local 4-H clubs, they also have after school and in school programs that provide 4-H activities to both grade school and high school students. Also, 4-H camps, which offer reacreational and educational opportunities, a chance to meet new people and enjoy the great outdoors.
If you are interested in learning more about 4-H you can contact the extension office in your county. The Scott County office is located at 190 West 1st Street in Waldron. You can contact Debbie Miller, extension agent, at 479-637-2173. The extension agent for Sebastian County is Jayson McGaugh. The county offers two locations: 6700 Mahogany Ave., Barling, AR 72923 and 301 E. Center Courthouse Room 109 Greenwood, AR 72396. You can contact the Barling office at 479-484-7737 or the Greenwood office at 479-996-4131.